Minister of Interior Oliver Spasovski says investigation following Tuesday’s arrest of police officers involved in falsification of passports is likely to expand, in order to look into all other aspects related to the case. According to Spasovski, one of those arrested was in contact with opposition VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski.
“According to information, I say this because they are really in contact, and part of the documents that the opposition party has come from here,” Spasovski told Slobodna TV’s “Morning Briefing” on Wednesday.
Spasovski noted that operation was sped up for the purposes of “deconspiration”, and not because of the opposition.
“Leader of opposition and an opposition party that constantly come out and protect major criminals in the country, are suddenly presenting themselves as party that supposedly stimulates fight against crime and corruption,” Spasovski added.
The real question in this situation, he said, is who wanted to sabotage this operation, and who wanted it to fail.
Asked whether it was common for such an operation to last for two years, Spasovski said a request was submitted to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and Corruption in 2019 for the first time. After the Public Prosecutor’s Office had responded that this was not within their competence, the case had then been taken to the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office in Skopje and all activities were undertaken to provide necessary evidence.
“There are many measures that have been implemented as part of the investigation, regarding which orders have been issued by a prosecutor. A prosecutor conducts any criminal procedure according to the law on criminal procedure, and all measures are issued accordingly. We may obtain operational data, information, etc., beforehand, but if they aren’t obtained in a way provided for in the law, they cannot be used as evidence,” said Spasovski.
Regardless of the operation, he pointed out, it’s not always important “to stop the moment you find something out, but it’s important to reach as wider a ring as possible of people who did it, i.e. to see the way in which they move.”
“This is why our strategic partners and Interpol are involved, so we can see where they move, why they use these passports. This is an extensive international operation,” the Interior Minister added.
Inside the institution, he noted, the circle is closed. The investigation is now likely to expand in order to look into all other aspects related to this case.
“The idea was to carry out the operation together with the prosecutor and jointly in other countries, but due to this, I’d say – attempt at sabotage, we cut the channel and fortunately the operation was successfully completed,” Spasovski said.
The Minister of Interior told a press conference on Tuesday that the department against organized and serious crime will bring criminal charges to the public prosecutor’s office against 10 Ministry of Interior (MoI) employees for abuse of office through the issuance of Macedonian passports to foreign nationals by using identities of citizens of North Macedonia who did not own personal documents at the time. Nine have been detained and the police are searching for one person.